Demonstration Network Planned for New Public Safety Spectrum

NIST and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration expect to have it ready by mid-2010.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration plan to create a demonstration broadband communications network for America's emergency services agencies using part of the radio frequency spectrum made available by the recent move of U.S. broadcast TV from analog to digital technologies. The new system will provide a common demonstration site for manufacturers, carriers, and public safety agencies to test and evaluate advanced broadband communications equipment and software, they announced.

While a unified broadband system would allow responder agencies to communicate with nationwide roaming and enhanced interoperability, no government or independent labs in the United States exist to test and demonstrate the network and equipment for it, according to NIST, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Because of this gap, NIST and NTIA, through their Public Safety Communications Research program, will begin building a Public Safety Broadband Demonstration Network to provide manufacturers with a site for early deployment of their systems.

"This is an excellent opportunity for NIST and the PSCR to leverage our skills and assets to ensure the successful adoption and deployment of a new, nationwide communications system for public safety,” said Dereck Orr, PSCR's program manager. “The demonstration of these new technologies, implementations, and services is a critical step in successfully deploying the next generation of mission-critical systems.” The demonstration network is in sits preliminary planning stages and is expected to go live in mid-2010. For more information, contact Orr at 303-497-5400 or dereck.orr@nist.gov or Jeff Bratcher at 303-497-4610 or jbratcher@its.bldrdoc.gov.

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